The building you see above is the famous house of Mr. Mukesh Ambani build at the cost of US $ 1 to 2 bn. Well, to put things in perspective, that’s something like Rs 5,000 to 10,000 Crores — I wonder whether a Taj Mahal would cost so much today. And, see what it looks like: A flatted factory at best and a multi-storey garbage dump at worst. Who can pay so much to build that? There are two basic ingredients of a good design: Harmony and Balance. But, both Harmony and Balance are conspicuous by their absence in the figure above — even a five year kid wouldn’t assemble his blocks in such a haphazard manner. In Delhi, there is an Urban Arts Commission for ensuring that a fantastical arbitrary mind may not disturb the urban landscape; but it seems Bombay doesn’t take its architecture seriously. I really pity the neighbors, who have to manage with this shabby structure day-in-and-day-out. Unfortunately, unlike the Ambanis, they can’t even build helipads on their terraces — though I wonder if it looks any better from the top.
The most distinctive part of the structure are the protruding floors in the middle managed by two pillars — I can well imagine how many mathematical equations would have been cracked to make this structure stand, but, what if the designers are neither mathematical genius nor designing stalwarts! The other distinctive and intriguing feature is the zigzag line, which seems to have been given a free run, and voila it ran its own course, sometimes encapsulating five floors, yet, at others, none. Is this some kind of Feng Shui or Vaastu — thanks goodness, whatever little architecture I learned, didn’t have any capsules on Vaastu! Then, there are these “V” for Victory pillars, as if declaring, “we have the wherewithal to hold even that which lie above us”– seriously, tough guys, but, do they enjoy doing it; it’s only going to get tougher with age; WAF…oops…WTF!
If I were to become the Urban Design Guardian of the Bombay City (assuming such a profile can exist and survive), I would allow this structure to stand only if it is immediately converted into a night shelter for the poor — there is no other way I can allow this injustice to the poor pillars.
©2012 Ankur Mutreja